Bunny Care & Diet 

*****DISCLAIMER!!!!******

The information on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute veterinarian care by a Licensed Veterinarian. Please Seek Veterinarian care if your rabbit is sick, not eating, drinking, or pooping. If your bunny is not moving, hunched over in a corner, looking uncomfortable, seek emergency care as your bunny may have GI stasis and can be fatal if proper care is not given. Here is a video I found helpful when one of my buns had GI stasis "HOW TO HELP A RABBIT WITH GAS PAIN"


Recommended Rabbit Supplies:

1. A Hutch or an extra large cage to use as your rabbit's "safe place" where they can't get into anything they shouldn't. Some people choose to free roam, but please be advice rabbits like to chew on cords, walls and things they shouldn't which can be very dangerous and even fatal.

We love our 2 tier critter nation metal cages. We DON'T love the wood hutches as they are often expensive, cheaply made and hard to keep clean and sanitized. 

An extra large rabbit cage can be used during potty training and as a safe place for at night, but rabbits need enough space that they can move around and get exercise. 


2. A play yard/ Exercise pen for playtime.

Make sure the play yard you choose has smaller holes so that your baby bun doesn't squeeze out of the holes.  This is the one we use CLICK HERE

Make sure the exercise area is not slippery in order to prevent injury including broken limbs and paralysis.  We use these reusable/ washable pee pads CLICK HERE. THERE ARE DIFFERENT SIZES . WE have both sizes. I would recommend the 72x 72 if you want a larger area. 

Some Bunnies do jump very high, so we use a fitted sheet over the play area to stop escape artists. 


3. A water bowl or bottles. I prefer and only use bowls. Bottles can often leak and leave your bunny dehydrated . It is also not normal for a bunny to look up to drink. In nature, bunnies drink from puddles on the ground.  I use a variety or ceramic , glass, plastic, and gravity bowls. 

Heavy bowls are helpful so your bunny can't move it as they like to throw things around.


4. Hay & Pellets

We currently use orchard grass and/ or timothy hay for our bunnies.  Alfalfa hay  should only be used for bunnies under 6 months of age, but always mix with timothy as buns will tend to prefer the alfalfa to other hays as it is sweeter. 


We currently use Kruse Perfection pellets that are corn free.

We primarily get our feed from Shoppers Supply in Chandler.

Food should not have seeds, colorful pieces, or corn in it. Sometimes you may find a piece of corn if you get a big bag of pellets, but remove and do not feed any corn pieces. Do not get feed that lists corn as one of the ingredients. 

Always introducing pellets slowly. 1 tablespoon at a time, and see how they do, if you bun gets to soft of poops, give more hay. Bunnies under 6 months may be free fed pellets, but sometimes they will over eat them and cause stomach upset. When you first get your bun, I recommend feeding small amounts at a time, allowing the bun to eat hay in between. If you feed the pellets more like a treat they will also bond to you better and associate you with something positive.  When switching any foods, always introducing new foods slowly as your bun can get GI stasis if introduced to much to quickly. 

Here are some good websites that go over what to feed your bunny:  

http://www.therabbithouse.com/diet/

https://rabbit.org/faq-diet/

https://rabbit.org/suggested-vegetables-and-fruits-for-a-rabbit-diet/

DO NOT FEED YOUR BUNNY ICEBERG LETTUCE, CHOCOLATE, COOKIES, CRACKERS, NUTS, SEEDS (other than occasionally black oil sunflower seeds) , BREAKFAST CEREALS , PASTA, YOGURT DROPS, or any other HUMAN TREATS. THIS CAN BE FATAL!! 


90% of your bunnies diet should be HAY and should be given at ALL TIMES

1/4 cup pellets max daily for any buns 6 months or older. 

Green leafy vegetables ( a loose pile approx. the size of their head daily)

Limit fruits to 1-2 tablespoons daily

Sugary fruits like bananas and grapes should only be given on occasion

Carrots are high in sugar, please do not give to young babies. 


5. A litter box

We will include one with your purchase of a bun. But if you'd like more than one.  We recommend a large cat litter box. We personally use a few different option but prefer one with a divider between the bedding and the bunny. This helps to keep the bunny clean as well as prevent digging and messes from digging.  I do not like the triangle bunny litter boxes. 


6. Toys & Other supplies

- Timothy hay mats and hut

-Plain cardboard boxes

- Toilet paper roll with hay stuffed inside

- Bamboo and Timothy hay sticks or cubes

- Toddler Stacking cups, balls, and plastic keys 

- Wood toys & Rattles (no dyes)

- Cardboard cat scratcher toys

- Only use felt fabric, other fabrics may contain long fibers that can be fatal if ingested

(Bunnies will pee on soft fabrics)


Holding Your Bunny

Bunnies are prey species ( They are eaten by other animals) and therefore do not enjoy being picked up or held. BUT the more you handle from the start the more likely they will tolerate being held.

-Never chase or reach quickly towards your bunny. This may frighten them.

-Sit next to your bunny and let them get used to your voice.

-Offer treats to your bunny to earn their trust. Treats can include pellets, greens, or organic rolled oats. 

- Pet your bunny as they eat to get them used to your touch

- Pet your bunny on the head, calm them down, prior to picking up

- Do this often so that your bunny is used to being handled especially since you will need to handle them in order to brush them, trim their nails and check for any injuries or health issues. 

- Hold your bunny firmly but gently. Support their back and hindquarters and hug them close to your body to help them feel most secure

- Never pick up a bunny by it's ears , arms, or legs

- Approach slowly and talk quietly

- Bunnies do have sharp nails so if your child is nervous about sharp nails put a blanket on his/ her lap. 

- Never allow a child to hold a bunny inappropriately

- Make sure that your bun can't jump out of your arms or they risk being severely injured. 


Vet Care

Always discuss with your veterinarian prior to treatment

You should get a well check for your bunny at least 1x a year

Bunnies should be spayed or neutered around 6 months of age. If you do not spay or neuter your bunny you may notice behavior changes that are very unpleasant.  It is also best if you plan on having multiple bunnies as bunnies are very territorial and can fight to the death. 

We use SANTA CRUZ ANIMAL HOSPITAL in Tucson for getting our bunnies spayed or neutered as we found it to be the best for affordability. 

We use Avian Exotic Animal Hospital for well checks. 

Bunnies require an exotic vet which can often be very expensive. 


Bunnies are really good at hiding illness. Some common illnesses are listed below.:

-Cancer in unspayed females

-Aggressiveness and urine spraying if not neutered or spayed

-Overgrown teeth- if misaligned have trimmed every 3 to 8 weeks

-Diarrhea: true diarrhea is uncommon but soft stools called cecotropes (cecal poops) are common. Intermittent soft stools are normal and typically happen at night and normal hard ball feces (fecal poops) during the day. Bunnies also eat their cecotropes so do not be alarmed. That is normal and beneficial for you bunny. Check over your bunny DAILY to make sure no poop is stuck to their butt or fur. This can cause infection. If poop is stuck and you see red irritation you can clean and apply Neosporin. When cleaning first loosen the hard stool with water. Pat dry with a towel. Cut extra fur off if you need to but be careful not to cut any skin. Avoid giving your bunny a bath if possible. If for some reason you need to bath your bunny always avoid the ears, mouth , and nose.

-Pasteruellosis- Also known as Pasteurella or snuffles and looks like a cold is HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS. Pasteurella is a overgrowth of bacteria that commonly inhabits a rabbit's sinuses. When stressed the bacteria can cause infection throughout the body. Signs and symptoms include running nose with discharge, lose of appetite, decreased activity abnormal head posture, skin lesions, etc.  Often vets will try to cure with antibiotics, but this tends to just mask the symptoms and the bunny may become a carry or reinfection may occur.  

- Eye infections (Pink eye)- We use terramycin to treat

- Fungal infections - we use ringworm ointment to treat

- Urine Scald- 

- Saliva Burn (caused by wet dewlap or drooling)- keep area dry. We use gentian violet or Neosporin to treat. But if a bunny is drooling, please seem a vet immediately as something may be wrong with your bunnies teeth or they may have an abscess.  

- Fleas 

- Mites- We use injectable ivermectin to treat. Please see your vet for proper treatment as if not given properly can lead to death . 

- Parasites (Worms)- We use Merck Safeguard Goat Dewormer called PANACUR Fenbendazole. Please speak with your vet before treating. 

- Bacteria Infections

- Bladder infections - We use apple cider vinegar ( a few drops) in our buns water daily as a preventative. We also occasionally use grapefruit seed extract as a preventative or to treat any bladder issues. Always seek veterinarian advice if you suspect your bun could have a bladder infection. 



Litter Box Training

-Bunnies poop and pee where they eat

-Keep hay inside their litter box or above it in a hay rack

- Start your bun off in a smaller safe area, this will encourage your bun to poop and pee in the litter box versus where they like to lie down. 

- Overtime your bunny will get used to where it is okay to go potty. 

-Some buns may regress if not neutered or spayed, or if another bunny is introduced in their environment. They may have "territorial" droppings. 

- Neutering and spaying will help dramatically with litter box training

- Bunnies like to pee on soft fabrics and bedding

- Male bunnies can spray and females can flick their pee

- Some bunnies may never be fully potty trained. 



Temperature

- An indoor temperature of 60-70 degrees is recommended

-Rabbits prefer cooler temps 32-70 degrees. 

-When temps exceed 70 degrees you may notice your bunny being more tired and resting more. Try not to disturb them as they can over heat and die. 

- Bunnies should not be in temps over 85 degrees inside or outside or they can get stressed and die.

- Some breeds can tolerate heat better but there is still risk. I do not recommend having Holland lops outside if temperatures are hotter that 85 degrees. 



Other information

- NEVER punish your rabbit. If they are doing something you do not like you need to redirect them. For example if they are chewing on something you don't want them to , give them something they can chew on. 

- Bunnies CAN nip. Typically they nip when they want you to move or do not like what you are doing It is how they communicate. 

-Bunnies WILL CHEWon electrical cords, baseboards, fabrics, plastics, wood, and metal. Please make sure they have something to chew on so that they can file their teeth. Bunnies teeth are always growing so it is very important they have chew toys and sticks. Please make sure that you create a safe area for your bunny so they can't chew things they shouldn't. If they chew on an electrical cord it can cause a fire. 

- Bunnies are fine as an only pet if you are able to give them plenty of attention. If not, you may get another bunny but the bunnies will tend to bond to each other versus the human. Also, you must have both bunnies spayed/neutered prior to introducing as they can severely hurt each other or even kill each other.

Here is a link to a FACEBOOK  group that has great bonding advice CLICK HERE

If you would like to get another bunny, It is typically best to get a male and female or 2 females that are littermates. 


- Female and male bunnies both hump for dominance, they will circle each other, and hop over each other.   

- Female unspayed bunnies can go through a hormonal stage between 4 to 8 months. They may get moody, grunt, nip, dig, pull fur, and create a nest. The best thing to do is get your bunny spayed if you do not plan on breeding her. 

-Male unaltered bunnies can spray. If you do not want them to spray then please get them neutered. 











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